Family Christmas activities are a wonderful way to celebrate and add meaning to the holidays. Here are 30 Christmas traditions and activities to start with your whole family this year! Incorporate a few or all of these holiday traditions into your family’s Christmas celebrations this year!
35 Fun Christmas Activities for Your Family to Start This Year
The best Christmas activities to plan for your entire family are the ones that are simple enough you will actually do! While some Christmas activities are expensive or elaborate–I’ve found our family’s favorite things to do and best memory makers don’t cost a lot of money and are easy ways to spend quality time together.
1. Celebrate Advent
Advent simply means “arrival” and it is the Christian tradition of celebrating and remembering the arrival of Jesus! Growing up my family celebrated Advent by lighting candles, reading Scripture about the Christmas story, and singing off-key Christmas carols around the table.
2. Christmas carols and gift delivery
Load up the car and visit friends and neighbors homes a to sing Christmas carols and deliver small Christmas gifts. It’s helpful to have an on-key singer in the group, but not necessary. 😉 You can also do this at a nursing home or homeless shelter, a wonderful way to share Christmas tunes and the joy of Christmas in a simple way.
3. Kickoff Christmas
Make the kickoff to Christmas an event! Give Christmas jammies the day after Thanksgiving and make snowman or holiday themed pancakes or another special holiday breakfast food! Start playing Christmas music and watch a holiday movie together or put up your Christmas tree. I love the intentional start to the holiday season like this!
4. Cutting our own tree
Growing up we went hiking out into the frozen wasteland to find the perfect one. We have gone back and forth between real and fake trees depending on our family’s needs and seasons. But we love to hunt down a beautiful Christmas tree. Bonus points for finding a great Christmas tree farm filled with family fun, hot chocolate, sleigh rides or wagon rides, bonfires, and other fun memory-making activities.
5. Decorating the tree to a favorite movie
This is my own little tradition where I decorate our tree while watching White Christmas. It makes the time fly and I love the mixing of two of my favorite Christmas traditions.
6. Baking Christmas cookies
Our family loves to bake cookies! There are so many delicious options and include fun activities for kids like spreading icing or putting on sprinkles, mixing and measuring and of course, taste testing! If you’re looking for some amazing Christmas cookie recipes here are a few ideas…
- Andes Mint Crinkles
- Chewy Walnut Treasures
- Soft Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Easy Christmas Trash Candy Recipe
7. Christmas Family Game Night
My husband’s family always opened one gift on Christmas Eve which was generally a movie or game the family played together! Even if your Christmas Eve is filed with another holiday tradition, you can add in a fun family game night with Christmas themed board games. Here are a few of our favorite family board and card games!
- Sneaky Snacky Squirrel – great for toddlers and preschoolers!
- Exploding Kittens – our school-age kids love this game!
- Zobmondo: The Santa Clause Game – this adorable game would be perfect for a Christmas game night!
RELATED: 50+ NON-TOY GIFT IDEAS FOR KIDS
8. Celebrate Christmas traditions around the world
Choose a different country and celebrate their customs, bake their goodies and cook their specialty dinner…not only a learning experience, but so much fun! Love this tradition that my friend Tracy shared!
Here is a great place to get started with discovering Christmas traditions from around the world.
9. Christmas craft party
A creative way to celebrate the holiday at any age. If you have kids, try something simple like this fingerprint Christmas tree wrapping paper or these craft stick ornaments. For teens or adults get your friends together for a “Pinterest party” of holiday crafting! Make a wreath or snowglobe or your favorite pinned craft that has been waiting for you to “get around to”.
10. Buying an Annual Christmas Ornament
We always got an annual Christmas ornament growing up to hang on the tree. In ‘95 it was a house with a bell, one year my grandma made us all angels, the year we traveled to Maine we got lighthouses like the one we visited. When we moved out we took our box of Christmas ornaments and memories with us. Nate and I are keeping this tradition alive, by letting our kids pick a new Christmas ornament each year. We normally go to Target, Walmart or Hobby Lobby and let them choose anything they love!
11. White Elephant Exchange
At our extended family gathering now that we’ve done away with gifts, for the last 4 years we’ve done a naughty/nice white elephant exchange. At a white elephant exchange you buy and exchange little gifts by drawing numbers. You can steal presents a certain number of times or choose an unwrapped gift on your turn. Choosing silly or unique gifts is the best part of this activity!
12. Make Gingerbread Houses
This is one of my kids favorite Christmas activities. I think the candy and frosting easy access is a big factor! You can purchase a gingerbread kit, make it from scratch or use graham crackers with little milk cartons to create your unique and beautiful gingerbread house!
13. Visit a local holiday market
Whether it’s a traditional Christkindl market or a craft show supporting local creators, this is a great way to get in the holiday spirit, find some unique holiday gifts or ornaments and have fun together!
14. Enjoy the Christmas lights
We love bundling up to look at Christmas lights–armed with Christmas songs and hot cocoa! One way we learned to make it extra fun is to prepare a small gift for the house the family votes has the BEST lights and then deliver the gift to the family’s doorstep with a Christmas card!
15. Hide a Pickle Ornament on the tree
16. Give Back Together
Whether you decide to serve at a soup kitchen, pick out gifts for a toy drive, bake cookies for a neighbor or make Christmas cards for nursing home residents, Christmas is a great opportunity to pass on the value of generosity to and with our kids!
17. Christmas book tradition
Collect 25 Christmas books, wrap them up, and unwrap one a day leading up to Christmas. We are working on expanding our Christmas book collection, here are some great Christmas books to read together over the holidays!
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (guaranteed to make you weep!)
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Apple Tree Christmas
- Christmas in the manger (great for little hands!)
- Charlie and the Christmas Kitty (love anything by Ree Drummond!)
- A Birthday Party for Jesus
- The Christmas Promise (love this series of books, Tales that Tell the Truth!)
- The Polar Express
- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story
- The Night Before Christmas
18. Visit a Christmas light show
Christmas light shows are entertaining for all ages to walk or drive through and often involve Christmas music too! You can find free or donation based ones and many are priced economically per carload.
19. Sleep under the tree
My friend, Melissa and her husband started a new tradition when they got married of camping out on Christmas Eve under the Christmas tree and waking up there Christmas morning! Another friend also said their family dragged mattresses to the Christmas tree, read books and ate cookies all night long! So magical and fun. You could also do this on another weekend or in that week devoid of time between Christmas and New Years.
20. Go to a Christmas parade
Christmas parades are a fun way to kick off the Christmas season in your hometown. Dress warmly for optimal enjoyment and grab some hot cocoa or spiced cider. We loved enjoying our small town in Indiana’s Christmas parade every year.
21. Making Christmas gifts
Creating simple gifts for family and friends is a great way to celebrate Christmas! One year I made crocheted scarves for my nieces and last year I finished a cloth Nativity for my kids to play with right in time for Christmas. Creating heartfelt, homemade gifts is a wonderful Christmas tradition.
22. Small town traditions
Every year our town in Michigan had a Wassailing event where the downtown businesses host open houses with hot drinks, snacks, crafts, Christmas carolers, even reindeer! It’s such a fun event…find a fun Christmas event in your town and make it part of your family Christmas traditions.
23. Christmas movie marathon
Grab all your blankets and camp out in front of the tv with popcorn and hot chocolate for a Christmas movie marathon! We love a ton of Christmas movies but these are some of our favorite family Christmas movies!
24. Attend a Christmas live nativity
Look for one put on by a local church or multiple congregations. These are such a fun way to bring the real meaning of Christmas to life!
25. Visit Santa Claus
While you can schedule a visit with a mall Santa there are so many other places you can meet up with the “big guy” at Christmas too! Local markets, banks, community centers, Christmas tree farms have Santa and Mrs. Clause available to meet kids and take pictures.
26. Go Ice Skating
Stay active and enjoy some time laughing, falling down, and trying something new together as a family! There are indoor and outdoor options available in most locations.
27. Make paper snowflakes
This simple craft activity can be made extra beautiful with high quality paper, glitter, using gold foil or other cut outs! It can be as simple or as intricate as you prefer.
28. Go to a Holiday Concert or Musical
Whether it’s elementary kids singing jingle bells, a church cantata filled with classic hymns or a holiday pops concert by a professional orchestra–going to a Christmas concert or musical is a special and enjoyable activity for everyone.
29. Go sledding or tubing
Look for a refrigerated tubing or toboggan run if your weather isn’t cooperating. We had an awesome time doing this last winter!
30. Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Create your own Christmas scavenger hunt with ideas from all over your area! Take pictures to “find” each item. This is fun for older kids or teens to do in competitive teams! Go team mom!
Other Christmas Family Ideas + Activities
- 12 Best Family Devotionals for Advent
- 35 Best Christmas Poems about Jesus
- FREE Christmas Advent Bible Reading Plan
- 50 + No-Toy Christmas Gift Ideas
- Move Closer to Jesus This Christmas: A Christmas Devotional
I feel so warm and fuzzy thinking about Christmas activities and family traditions! It really is the most wonderful time of the year to make memories, celebrate Jesus’ birth, practice kindness, and celebrate the holidays in your own unique way!
What are your family’s favorite Christmas activities to do over the holidays?